WXXI AM News

LGBTQ rights

The Vatican recently released a statement – a "responsum," in official terms – regarding whether the Church could bless same sex unions. The responsum contained a single word: "Negative." There was an explanatory note attached that explained the Church "does not and can not bless sin." For Catholics who have hoped that Pope Francis was moving the Church in a more progressive direction, this was a difficult piece of news to take in. Is this the end of their dream of a Church that supports the LGBTQ community?

Our guests discuss it:

  • Stan "J.R." Zerkowski, director of the Diocese of Lexington LGBT Ministry, and executive director of Fortunate Families
  • Bryan Wilkinson, tech professional who considered pursuing the priesthood

ZOOM press conference still

 

The AARP Foundation and SAGE, an organization that advocates for older LGBTQ people, announced that they’re working together on an initiative to address needs of older LGBTQ people.

While the pandemic has impacted all aspects of life, for older LBGTQ people of color, it has exposed the effects of long-term discrimination

“COVID-19 has made those challenges worse, but the reality is these severe difficulties and disparities existed long before COVID-19,” Michael Adams with SAGE said.

Today marks the 2020 Transgender Day of Remembrance, and we're joined by transgender lawmakers and activists to discuss the state of trans rights. The ACLU reports that "in 2020, a record number of anti-trans bills are making their way through state legislatures."

Our guests discuss what has changed in recent years, and the role they think lawmakers and citizens have in helping to create a more equitable society. Our guests:

  • Danica Roem, delegate in the Virginia House of Delegates, who was the first openly transgender state legislator to be seated in U.S. history
  • Jess Whitehouse, activist, and community ASL interpreter
  • Shauna O'Toole, former candidate for NYS Senate

As reported by NPR on Monday, Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito issued a broadside against the court's 2015 decision on same-sex marriage. President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, has expressed her opposition to the 2015 ruling. If Coney Barrett is confirmed, LGBTQ rights activists worry that the decision could be overturned.

What would that mean for same-sex couples and their civil rights? Our guests share their perspectives and concerns:

When civil rights attorney Milo Primeaux read the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in favor of workplace protections for LGBTQ workers on Monday, he said he cried. 

Primeaux said this is a victory for the movement.

“This community has so historically and systematically been kicked down and oppressed by the government and by communities in so many myriad ways,” he said.

Primeaux’s practice focuses on LGBTQ legal matters. The ruling came days after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services revoked health care and health insurance protections for LGBTQ people.